The Habit of Grtitude
from Moody Publishing
- For much of my life, thanksgiving has been a once a year activity. I gave thanks on Thanksgiving Day. I mean, if I do it too often, then Thanksgiving just becomes about turkey and football. Right? Okay, I wouldn’t say that (out loud), but I often live that way by marginalizing thanksgiving. Gratitude is for every day and every season. It’s an action (giving thanks) and a disposition (gratitude) for all of life. But some days we don’t feel like it. When I’m tired and weary, gratitude quickly flees. It’s also when I’m most likely to grumble and complain. Some days it’s because I’m more easily agitated, but other times, it’s just a tiredness that makes the eyes of the soul blurry. The mental fog moves throughout my body and gratitude seems daunting. It would be easier to say, “Not today. I’ll do that some other time.” But I know delaying thanksgiving is like hitting the sleep button. Postponing thanksgiving today makes it easier to not practice it tomorrow. David teaches us that thanksgiving requires intentionality. There are enough reasons to give thanks to God daily. But that doesn’t mean we always feel grateful or notice these blessings. Don’t let your feelings and experience call the shots. Lead your feelings by reminding your heart of reasons to be thankful. Because we don’t always feel grateful or desire to give thanks, intentionality is important. We tune our hearts by retraining its habits. A life of grumbling doesn’t go away at once, but by committing yourself to daily practices of thanksgiving, gratitude chips away our complaining spirit. Over time, practicing giving thanks turns into a habit, which forms in us a posture of gratitude rather than grumbling. But remember, we start like David by choosing to give thanks every day. If becoming a thankful person seems way out there, just start by giving thanks today, then tomorrow, and the next day. Have a plan to do this daily. Don’t get discouraged if this feels difficult at first. Like any training exercise, starting and keeping it up early is the hardest part. Before moving on to the next thing in your day, consider two things. First, what are five reasons you can thank God right now? And second, what would it look like for you to build a habit of thanksgiving into your daily rhythms? There’s no one-size-fits-all plan for thanksgiving, so choose what works for you. But the key is to be intentional. Cultivate a posture of gratitude to God by choosing to practice thanksgiving to God every day.